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Valley gas prices above $4 due mainly to seasonal factors

Gas Prices
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-10 22:40:40-05

PHOENIX — Gas prices in the Valley are beginning to creep up.

According to AAA, the average for a regular gallon of gas in the Phoenix metro is $4.17. The average is up 9% from last week when the average was $3.85.

Today’s average is also down 9% from what it was this time last year, $4.61.

Patrick De Haan, chief analyst with the tracking site GasBuddy, says the rise in prices is not unexpected this time of year. “In Arizona, there are three different types of transitory gasoline and this fragmentation is partially behind the jump in prices,” De Haan said. “Refineries have to go from producing one type of gasoline in the winter to three different types of gasoline in the spring.”

An analysis of GasBuddy’s daily average data for Phoenix shows a similar increase in prices occurred beginning in mid-February since at least 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020 did not experience an increase, but this was due to a significant drop in demand.

So far the increase this year does bear a striking resemblance to last year, but De Haan says not to worry just yet. “We should be well below record prices going into Memorial Day, so don’t worry about new records being set for now, but we are seeing seasonal factors take over."

A major contributing factor to the price of gas is the price of oil.

Last year at this time the spot price for West Texas International crude spiked well over $100 a barrel, mostly due to uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine. Today, however, the price is hovering around $75 a barrel.

In 2021, the spot price was $66 at this time.